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FeaturedFeatured ProfilesGreek American Achievements: A Tapestry of Success Across Science, Business, and Media

Greek American Achievements: A Tapestry of Success Across Science, Business, and Media

Hellenic News
Hellenic News
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From the crossroads of America (Chicago, Northwest Indiana, Wisconsin and beyond)…

By Terry Poulos, Special to the Hellenic News of America 

ACCELERATING SCIENCE: Greeks have been at the forefront of science and mathematics since ancient times and that hasn’t changed much. Greeks were brimming with pride when Nikolitsa (LiaMerminga was appointed director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, IL, boasting the world’s second most powerful particle accelerator and arguably the top such research facility in the world. Born in Greece, Merminga made a name for herself as a leading particle experimentalist, traversing nations and establishing relationships across the globe. The current excitement at FermiLab involves the Muon g-2 experiment, designed to measure the muon’s elusive magnetic moment. Curious anomalies have been popping up, challenging longstanding theories. FermiLab and Merminga are front-center! One of the top physicists working on Muon science with Fermi is Yannis Semertzitis of Brookhaven National Laboratory.

TEAMWORKS EXPANDING: Led by founder/CEO Zach Maurides, a former Chicago-area football star who went on to start on the offensive line at Duke University, North Carolina-based tech concern has been on an acquisition spree. COO is James Coffos. TeamWorks is involved with many student-athlete functions, including compliance, rosters, academics, NIL, scheduling, recruitment, and development, Zach is mourning the loss of his father, attorney George Maurides, who passed in 2003. George handled much of the real estate portfolio of McDonald’s Corporation.

FermiLab Director Lea Merminga (photo credit: FermiLab)

RAISING THEIR GAMES: Many Greek Americans are familiar with philanthropist Eleni Bousis, instrumental in building and running the Greek American Rehabilitation & Care Centre in Wheeling, IL, and raising funds for the Hippocratic Cancer Research Foundation. Now comes her son George Bousis, son of Eleni and her husband, food industry entrepreneur Dimitri Bousis. George is founder/CEO of, a portal and secondary market for unused gift cards. Raise has accumulated a reported $86 million in investment capital.

SERVING HEROES: Greek American Sharon Tyk, a law firm manager, for decades has been a tireless worker on behalf of veterans and the Gary Sinise Foundation. Most of her family served honorably. Hines VA Hospital in Maywood, IL, one of the nation’s largest such facilities, features a monument in memory of her late father, Edmund Tyk. Hines also boasts an entire area dedicated to deceased Greek American US veterans. Sharon’s mother’s ancestral family name is Nakis. Sharon, then with AT&T, helped Sinise, a longtime friend, raise $1 million for the 9/11 memorial in Washington, DC. Sinise co-starred alongside Tom Hanks in two epic films, Forest Gump (Lt. Dan character) and Apollo 13 (played NASA astronaut Ken Mattingly).

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MEDIA MATRIMONY: Congratulations to NBC5 Chicago reporter Lexi Sutter on her recent engagement…Lexi’s NBC5 colleague, anchor/reporter Kate Chappell, is now a Phihellene following her marriage with Evan Bartzis, COO of Devanco Foods in suburban Chicago. Devanco has been expanding its beef and gyros product lines, including a national distribution deal with industry heavyweight Sysco Foods. Devanco’s founder/CEO is father Peter Bartzis, a board member of the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation. Peter recruited Kate to emcee last year’s annual gala. She’ll co-emcee this year’s June 15 gala (…And another congratulations to FOX32 Chicago reporter Kasey Chronis on her recent marriage!

MEDIA MARATHONS: Greek American Steve Kashul has been producing and hosting, now aired on NBC Sports Chicago, for nearly three decades. Also a former Chicago Bulls radio host, Kashul has positioned himself as a top golf expert nationwide…Chicagoan Jim Kezios has been producing the nationally-syndicated Pro Football Weekly TV for more than three decades, and going strong. He’s also an avid horseman who names his steeds after Greek figures.

Actor, singer, guitarist Skip Griparis (second from left) and actor/singer Lisa Zane (far right) in their Victory Gardens Theater days (photo credit: Skip Griparis)

BLISSFUL BDAYGreek Media Club Chicago co-founder George Bliss, a lifelong business and technology executive and son of the late James Bliss, Chicago musicians’ union chief, celebrated his 75th birthday in January, joined by family and friends at Gibson’s in Oak Brook, IL. Recently inducted Illinois Rock N’ Roll Hall of Famer Skip Griparis (New Colony Six lead singer, Olivia Newton John traveling guitarist) performed live. Skip is also an actor who appeared in the hit film Major League, where he played the straight man to Bob Uecker’s comedic character. Also in attendance: George’s wife Kathleen and their George Jr., esq; retired Judge Bob BertucciUS Congressman Jonathan Jackson and his sister, WCPT radio host Santita Jackson, scions of civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.; Business moguls James and Georgia Athans (one of George’s two sisters), former owners of Chemtool in Lake Geneva, WI which they sold to Berkshire Hathaway; George’s sister Elaine Rantis; George’s best man Tony Frankos, VP of publishing at the American Dental Association, Tony’s wife Helene; and yours truly. The Bliss’ other son, Jimmy Bliss, is COO of Denver-based

LA FEMME GREECE: The International Women Associates ( was slated to host its annual fundraising gala on April 15 in Chicago at the National Hellenic Museum. The theme is “Celebrating Greece.”

SPORTS: The annual PanOrthodox George Mougoulias Memorial Basketball Tournament ( is slated for April 18-21 in Chicago…Former University of Iowa standout baseball player Jimmy Frankos is now an assistant coach at the University of Illinois at Chicago…Greek Chicago Cubs fans are primed for an electric season on the North Side as the team resigned former AHEPA athlete-of-the-year Cody Bellinger, who put up MVP-type numbers in 2023. There’s some great Greek lore surrounding the Cubs, most notably the famous Billy Goat (former) “curse” initiated by restaurant owner William Siannis (a downtown diner often chronicled in skits on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”). The George Loukas family once owned three Wrigley Field rooftop buildings, later sold to the Cubs. The family now maintains both the Cubby Bear and Sports Corner bar and buildings situated on key intersections directly across the street from the stadium.

ERRATA ADDENDUM: Corrections and/or ex post facto information obtained concerning past hasty scribbling…FOX32 sportscaster Lou Canellis is one of three owners of Avli Foods along with Louie Alexakis and Bill Glastris. Canellis brought a group of Avli restaurants into the group, in addition to American Airlines and Doms Market. As well, NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is part owner of the new Avil Milwaukee restaurant but is not involved in Avli Fulton Market Chicago…Tina Sfondeles, formerly of, has now returned to the Chicago Sun-Times as chief political reporter.

Until next…

Terry Poulos is a writer, entrepreneur (, and artist ( who has also covered Greek America for more than two decades for newspapers, magazines, and web portals. He’s co-founder of Chicago’s Greek Media Club and a member of the AHEPA Athletics Hall of Fame selection committee

The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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